The Dangers of the Internet
There has been significant debate about the effect of publication on the internet and whether the different legal principles do, or should govern action brought for damages for defamation in respect of internet publications.
Newspapers have websites and a publication in a newspaper is generally published on a newspaper website at the same time that publication is made in a newspaper.
Publications of such stories on the internet often contain minor differences. Sometimes they are identical. Whatever the position is, each publication is a separate publication and if defamatory, each publication can be the subject of a cause of action. If you wish to sue on a hard copy newspaper publication and on an internet publication that is identical or close to identical, the two publications are separate must be separately identified and sued on, but may be in the one claim.
Television stations and radio stations normally republish their broadcasts on their websites. The purpose of the separate publications is to allow listeners or viewers to either read, hear or see (or a combination of all three) the publication if the original mass media broadcast was missed.
The publications, being both the original one on television or radio, and the publication on the website are separate publications. The same rules that are set out above in respect of newspaper publications apply to newspaper publications in hard copy and on a website, apply to a television broadcast and publication on a television station website.
A Publication About You
You may find that if there has been a publication that is defamatory of you, you will likely be notified of it by a friend or reader who saw it on a website first, such is the reach and power of the internet.